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Lincoln Elementary students return to in-person classes
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Lincoln Elementary students return to in-person classes

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Lincoln Elementary students got to do something they hadn’t done in two weeks on Wednesday, be in their classrooms, learn and interact with their peers in person.

The school was previously in tier four remote learning starting Aug. 19, after a spike of COVID-19 cases were found in the building.

There were many smiles and fist bumps as roughly 230 students entered the school buildings, saw their teachers and got back into their morning routines.

Principal Kevin Janssen said that students, staff and parents alike are anxious and excited to return to school.

“We did an outstanding job, I felt, as a staff in delivering educational services to our kids remotely,” Janssen said. “But we all know that in-person is the best way to do it. So we’re really excited just to get back into routines and procedures, and to get kids back on the right track again.”

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Kindergarten teacher Laura Koenig said her class’ online learning went very well, with lots of participation from the students and support from parents, but that they might need to start over a bit with returning to in-person learning.

“Kind of like the first day of school again, but they’ll be fine,” Koenig said. “They’ll just jump back to where they were, and it’ll be good.”

While Lincoln students did online learning, all other Beatrice Public School buildings continued in-person classes with a face covering mandate. With Lincoln returning to classes, school officials have discussed whether to reinstate their opt-out forms for students. All currently confirmed cases at BPS involved people wearing masks, as it’s a requirement for district staff.

“We spoke yesterday with the Beatrice Community Hospital, and we spoke with Public Health Solutions and our administrative team,” BPS Superintendent Jason Alexander said. “We’re going to monitor the situation for the rest of this week, and if things still look as good as they do on the COVID dashboard, then we’ll probably return to the mask opt-out for those who have opted out. There will be no new opt-outs.”

The dashboard has been linked to the district website to update the community on the number of active cases there are, and what school is involved. As of Wednesday, there is one active case at Beatrice High School.

Alexander said the district will return to tier two of their action plan, which anticipates a moderate risk of spreading COVID-19, and limits interactions in classrooms, lunchrooms, hallways and other areas, as well as randomly screens students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms.

“It’s good to see kids back at school at Lincoln Elementary, and hopefully we can continue to keep those cases low and practice good social hygiene so we can keep kids in school,” Alexander said.

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